Doing the can-can in Liverpool Cathedral.
Liturgical dance is a vital component of modern worship - so much more exciting than traddy things like the Gloria or Credo, and much more interesting than the Bishop's Letter (do we really care what he got for Christmas?) Accordingly, we are pleased to publish an excerpt from the new Liverpool Missal, Lord have Mersey!
PRIEST: You put your left leg in. PEOPLE: You put your left leg out. PRIEST: In out, in out. PEOPLE: Shake it all about. PRIEST: You do the hokey-cokey and you turn around. PEOPLE: That's what it's all about. PRIEST: It is indeed what it is all about, and it is our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to do the hokey-cokey and to turn around...
It is the priest's job to lead the liturgical dancing, as shown here.
The most recent liturgical dance in Liverpool Cathedral was held to celebrate the arrival of the relics of St John Bosco (that name seems strangely familiar). The saint was greeted by that lovely hymn based on Ezekiel 37, to which the whole congregation was invited to dance:
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones. Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones. Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones. Now hear de word of de Lord.
♫ Your foot-bone's connected to your leg-bone... ♫
Liturgical dancing is here to stay. It has the great advantage that it concentrates the worshippers' minds, not on God, not on the meaning of the Mass, but on everyday things like being "cool" and having "rhythm." Also, it can take place at any point in the service.
No Mass is complete without some people waving cardboard boxes above their heads.
Of course the Anglicans have been doing liturgical dances for years. Here, Archbishop Sentamu of York demonstrates some of the movements to a sceptical Rowan Williams.
♫ Underneath the spreading chestnut tree... ♫
The full video of "Lord have Mersey" is here.